What is Nano Memory and how is it different from microSD cards?


Nano Memory which is also called NM card or nCard is a memory solution designed and developed by Huawei. This memory solution was introduced in 2018 as a newer, smaller memory card for phones with minimal space. Nano memory cards are as small as a nano-SIM and can be used with the dual SIM tray in a compatible Huawei device. This format has never had the backing of major memory card developers and other OEMs since its launch, so, this technology is limited only to Huawei devices. As smartphones start coming with more built-in storage the need for expandable storage diminishes along with the need for Nano Memory cards even fades into obscurity. Here we will discuss how is a Nano Memory card different from the more common microSD card.
How is a Nano Memory card different from a microSD card?
Nano Memory card is an expandable storage format developed by Huawei that is very similar to the traditional microSD cards. These cards are as small as the nano-SIM cards which are about 45% smaller than the more popular microSD cards. However, these NM cards are only supported by Huawei devices that fit into the dual-Nano SIM card trays in compatible devices and don’t require a separate card slot to function.
NM card features and availability
Huawei currently offers these nCards in three different storage variations — 64GB, 128GB, and 256GB sizes, while the 64GB variant is hardly available. These cards are based on the eMMC 4.5 flash storage protocol and offer read speeds up to 90MB/s.
Advantages of Nano Memory
Apart from the size and the read speeds, NM cards are not much different from traditional microSD cards. The user experience will be almost the same in both cases, however, device manufacturers might see a larger benefit in using Nano Memory.
Manufacturers can use it to free-up space inside their smartphones to fit in other components. For example, these NM cards fit in Huawei’s dual-Nano SIM trays which can completely exclude the need for an extra dmemory slot.
It may seem like a very small advantage, but physical space is very limited in smartphones and microSD card support can turn out to be a deciding factor about the device’s circuit board’s design and placement. Manufacturers might get more options in how they design their devices and the components they use by utilising the SIM tray for expandable memory.
However, microSD doesn’t interfere with other physical aspects of the phone like how you hold it or its IP rating. It is important to note that manufacturers are usually reluctant to adopt a patented technology from one of their competitors if it doesn’t bring in a big incentive.
Disadvantages of Nano Memory
NM cards are quite expensive when their performance is compared with a similar microSD card. MicroSD cards with the same memory size and higher read speeds will cost less than half the price Huawei asks for its NM cards.
These NM cards offer just three size options whereas microSD cards are available in multiple size variants. MicroSD cards can offer up to 1TB storage and comes in numerous options with 90MB/s read speeds and more. However, the biggest disadvantage of NM cards remains limited support.
Android smartphones that support microSD cards are easily available and are very common. NM cards will only work with Huawei phones. Moreover, users have to choose between using a second SIM card or expandable storage as these NM cards occupy a SIM tray slot. This might be a problem for users who needs to use both their SIM connections.